The Texas International Produce Association's Third Annual Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge Kicks Off; Ashley Ojeda Porter and John Toner Comment
MISSION, TX - I can’t imagine a more perfect symbol for produce members’ bone-deep passion than the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge. The third annual event, presented by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA), is kicking off once again and will last six months, culminating at the 2022 Viva Fresh Expo from April 21-23, 2022.
2020 Featured Participants Ashley Ojeda Porter, Associate Business Development Manager and Buyer at H-E-B, and John Toner, Vice President of Convention and Industry Collaboration at United Fresh Produce Association, will lead this year’s group along with returning mentors Ed Bertaud, Director of Retail Sales at IFCO; James Bassetti, Chief Operating Officer at Little Bear Produce; and TJ Flowers, Vice President of Operations and Sales at Lone Star Citrus Growers.
“What I love most about the Clean Eating Challenge is the timeframe. Six months sounds intimidating, but when you are committed to your healthy journey, that stretch is needed to reset current habits and create new routines,” said Ojeda Porter. “Getting in shape is hard. Being overweight is hard. Starting from scratch is hard. Realizing you are stagnant is hard. Sharing your story is hard. Staying quiet is hard. As a mentor this year, my goal is to help remind my team why they chose their hard. If this challenge were easy…everyone would be doing it.”
A press release explained that Clean Eating Challenge participants have experienced many benefits from their journey, such as weight loss, reduction of medications, lowered cholesterol, regulated blood sugar, and overall increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The 2021-2022 challengers will receive more individual attention through the additional aid of professionals including a registered dietitian and a fitness coach. Fourteen industry members were selected, spanning eight states and one Canadian province and ranging from 25 to 60. Group members have wellness goals such as weight loss, better sleep, improving health and energy, eliminating medications, gaining self-confidence, and setting a good example for friends, family, and peers.
“Getting clean, in mind and in body, has allowed me to see the world much more clearly on life’s essential priorities, health and happiness,” Toner stated. “We often confuse short-term satisfaction over long-term success. I am looking forward to mentoring this year’s class; my group is going to win!”
The Featured Participants will share their progress with the public via blogs and vlogs, which can be found on the Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge website. The website also features workouts, healthy eating tips, and recipes.
This year’s Clean Eating Challenge Featured Participants are:
- Beth Keeton, Elephant House PR
- Blair Butterworth, Pacific Trellis Fruit/Dulcinea Farms
- Cameron Roberts, H-E-B
- Dan Kaho, FullTilt Marketing
- George Szczepanski, PMA
- Jashon Newlun, Category Partners
- Jay Alley, Fresh Innovations
- Jeffrey Kleypas, Decco Postharvest
- Jeremy Taylor, DNO Produce
- Jessica Ortega, Gill's Onions
- Mark Campbell, Produce IQ
- Megan Jacobsen, Gill's Onions
- Pat Young, IFCO
- T.J. Rahll, Robinson Fresh
The results will be revealed at Saturday’s Keynote Luncheon during the expo. Registration, airfare, and hotel expenses are complimentary for qualifying retail and foodservice companies.
We wish the best of luck to this year’s participants!